The GNK Power Droid also known as the Gonk Droid based on its characteristic sound was first shown in the background in Episode IV A New Hope. While it was never meant to be a mainstream character, LEGO has been including the brick-built droid in sets since 2003.
The first Gonk Droid was released in 4480 Jabba’s Palace. It consisted of only seven elements most of which were used to make up the legs. The body on the droid was a container box that had been in use since 1990. The door to the box had a unique print designed for the GNK. Two years later the minifigure was re-issued this time with the updated dark gray color. Everything else remained the same. This figure was only included in 10144 Sandcrawler.
It would then be a seven year gap before the next version would be released. With the addition of advent calendars to the Star Wars theme, the opportunity for small easy-to-build models meant that a Gonk-sized slot had opened up. The 9509 Advent Calendar from 2012 included a fourteen piece droid on day 13. It was made entirely from common light and dark gray elements.
Two years later 75059 Sandcrawler was not only an update to the large tank-like vehicle seen on Tatooine, but it was also a chance to include lots and lots of droids. Alongside many other models, the GNK again got its chance to shine. This version was the first to include only dark gray elements and also reverted back to a unique printed tile to capture the look.
A couple years would pass before it was time for another Advent Calendar to include this droid when set 75146 would be the first to have a non-traditional GNK. This version came with 21 pieces in a mix of colors including brown and orange!
The doors were now open, and the frequency of Gonk Droids would pick up significantly. The 75245 Advent Calendar would come with the first festive GNK made to look like a present wrapped in red and green with a bow on top. This one was made using 19 pieces all of which are common elements.
That same year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary, LEGO released a gift-with-purchase polybag – 75522 – that was included with 75253 Droid Commander. The polybag contained three droids with the most unique being a dark turquoise GNK. The contrast of the colors on this one makes it my favorite of all the versions released so far. Plus it is the only one to come weaponized with a saw and hammer!
The following year would be just as plentiful starting with 75293 Resistance I-TS Transport. The color spectrum of Gonk Droids continued to expand with this version being a 16 piece sand green one. Again all of the pieces are common elements making it easy to put together for a low cost.
Keeping the festive theme from the prior year alive, the 75279 Advent Calendar included a snowman style GNK. The droid was made of primarily white pieces and was accessorized with a black top hat and a carrot nose. Its inventory consists of 19 common elements.
The last addition to the family of Gonk Droids came in the most recent wave with the release of 75314 The Bad Batch Attack Shuttle. This droid is comprised of 20 common elements and is the first to come with black feet.
While LEGO may not consider them to be true minifigures, the LSW community has accepted Gonk Droids into the ranks. Surprisingly they outnumber many other characters in terms of the number of unique variants. The Gonk is also one of the only minifigures to have every version included in only one set.
How many of these droids have you managed to collect? Do you enjoy seeing them and want more, or are you tired of their inclusion? Let us know below, and be sure to mark them off in your collection using the LSW Collector app on iOS and Android devices!
As founding partner and the chief archivist, Kevin Downard maintains and curates the library catalog.
Getting in at the ground floor when the LEGO Star Wars theme first launched, Kevin has been collecting ever since. He is a self-proclaimed minifigure guru and has a passion for tracking down and cataloging every minifig variation – no matter how obscure. He has assisted Rebrickable and Bricklink in maintaining their set inventories, helped overhaul the rebelscum.com LEGO forum, and created the LSW Collector mobile app.